VU-Texas A&M post game quotes

Feb. 4, 2016

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Vanderbilt vs. Texas A&M

Coach Kevin Stallings
Opening Statement:
“I’m really happy for my players. I thought they played exceptionally hard from start to finish. I think A&M is a terrific basketball team and I am just happy for my players that they got to experience this, that they got to play this way, and perform like this on a night where it mattered so much. I’m just very, very pleased for them, very disappointed that they have had to listen to, hear, and probably unnecessarily read a lot of the negativity that has been said about us. I am happy that they had a night like tonight. We had three great days of practice this week, and again it shows where play and performance reflects preparation. Now we have to go on the road, and put something behind it in 48 hours, and we know that is going to be difficult, so we will do the best job we can to get prepared to face a very good Ole Miss team. We’re really happy, and I am really happy about the way they played.”

On comparing previous performances to tonight’s:
“It is what it is. I can’t change the other performances, I can’t change the performance tonight, I can only try to change the performance on Saturday. Sometimes when your mind is clear, it allows you to play better. Maybe there was some clearing of minds, and clearing of hearts this week. We played like a basketball team that was hungry, we played like a basketball team that was together, and we played like a basketball team that really cared. I’m happy for them.”

On what’s changed:
“I wouldn’t say there was an airing of grievances, there was no magic meeting, no closed door team meeting, just some guys that refocused and gave themselves to their teammates. It’s a powerful thing when you get a team all going in the same direction.”

On motivation:
“I’ve been trying to motivate these guys all year long with varying degrees of success. I’m happy for them because of what they’ve dealt with. I’m not saying that the negativity motivated anybody, I’m not saying we deserved some of it, I’m saying I am happy they got to experience tonight because of what they have been hearing and seeing.”

On tonight’s game:
“The game that matters the most is the one you play today. Yes, it matters to me. I think A+M is a terrific basketball team. I really do. I think they are a very, very good team, and a deep run in the tournament type team. Tonight was our night. Yeah we’re happy to play well, yeah we’re happy to beat good teams. That’s something we need to be able to do. The last two home games we have been able to beat two very good basketball teams.”

On Damian Jones:
“I thought Damian was terrific in the game on both ends. We were running a double team on Jalen Jones, and he’s such a good offensive player for them. We were running two guys at him when we could, and trying to trap the ball out of his hands at times, because he is such a good offensive player. I’ll tell you what Damian did that really impacted the game, and that’s how he ran the floor. When we would convert from defense to offense, there were 10-15 occasions when he looked like he was shot out of a cannon he was going so fast. That put pressure on their transition defense and got us some shots on the perimeter. I was very impressed with how Damian played tonight. I haven’t seen a stat sheet, I don’t know what his stat line was, but I thought he was terrific.”

On must-win games:
“I haven’t talked about games we ‘have to have’. I don’t talk about that because what if we don’t get it?Does that mean for the rest of the season the games don’t matter? As a coach, that’s not a strategy you can employ. Did they feel urgency? I’m guessing they did. Did I feel urgency? Yeah, you might say that. Did we talk about the urgency? I did say one thing to them yesterday, our thought for the day that we had on every practice plan was ‘If not now, when?’. They responded. Good for them. It’s a beautiful thing, and it was awesome to watch.”

On Jeff Roberson:
“I thought Jeff Roberson was fantastic. I haven’t seen a stat sheet, I don’t care. I thought he was incredible, that’s how good I thought he was. He was coming off of one the most unincredible performances of his life on Saturday, and he was spectacular. He was better on defense. He was spectacular on defense, and took the charge down there for us. I’m proud of him. It doesn’t surprise me. He’s a kid who’s heart never leaves the right place. His heart is always in the right place. When those guys do well you’re never surprised.”

On moving forward:
“We want to try to get better somehow tomorrow. We want to try to get better. We won’t have very long to do it, because the majority of our practice might be ice baths. We will do what we feel like we have to to prepare for a good Ole Miss team, and it’s always tough, but I hope they enjoy this tonight and tomorrow we will come in and get back to work.”

Texas A&M Coach Bill Kennedy
Opening Statement:
“We ran into a very hungry, aggressive Vanderbilt team. I thought when they made that first three, with Kornet falling down, that gave them a lot of confidence and they were aggressive on both ends of the floor. I thought that Wade Baldwin was very good at the point guard, he dictated how the game was played on both ends of the floor.”

On Vanderbilt’s performance tonight:
“This was more about Vanderbilt being ready to play. I’ve known Kevin Stallings a long time, and I have a good friend in Kevin, and when Stallings’ back is against the wall, that’s not a good time to be coming in and playing. I will give them credit. Look at Damian Jones, he set the table from the inside and was very aggressive. Luke Kornet hit that three and it gave him confidence. They were just outstanding tonight.”

On Vandy footage versus Vandy in real life:
“I don’t know about having more urgency, but I know they were really good. We were up 28-24, and they had some opportunities to put some points on the board in the first half. I thought Wade Baldwin every time he had a chance to separate, they made some really good plays, and he did a really good job of dictating on both ends of the floor.”

On cutting the lead to 10:
“We cut it to 10, we still had time, and then Baldwin draws the ball and hits a big layup. He made every big play. Kornet was outstanding, and their 13 threes…We never really felt like we were out of the game, but we never really felt like we were in the game. Every time we tried to make a run, they made a good play offensively or defensively.”

On the Vandy big men:
“Kornet is a big key. You lose him for three weeks and it disrupts the rhythm. They’re a rhythm team offensively, the way they move the ball. When he’s playing like he’s playing, and he’s 7’1″… Damien Jones is 7 foot, and Jalen Jones was 1-13. He had a hard time finishing around the basket because of their length. Those two guys scoring the ball really fueled their defense, and they did a very good job of defending the basket.”

On Jalen Jones:
“We got back in the game by Jalen making the right decisions, getting it out and reversing it and making shots. He rushed and he put some pressure on himself. You have to give them some credit for speeding him up and getting him out of rhythm.”

On their play on the road:
“We’ve won three games on the road, and I don’t think anyone else in the league has won three games in a row. That’s hard for me to gather from a frustration standpoint. We had a chance to beat Arkansas, and they played well and we got in foul trouble so we lost. Vanderbilt was picked second in the league for a reason. They have a really good team, and they’re healthy now, and they’re at home, and they are tough to beat here. We do need to play better on the road. I thought the organization from our guards, right at the top, didn’t do a great job of getting us offense. We took some shots, and we didn’t execute like we needed to. We are better at that position at home for sure, we have been the last two games for sure.”